Joining the trucking force can be very intimidating in the beginning; you will learn a lot of information very fast and if you don’t keep up, you can get swallowed.
We’ve compiled a list of points to focus on when starting out.
Guilty, until Proven Innocent
The unfortunate reality when you are handed your new CDL, the right to be scrutinized for every step you do and do not take is in the fine print. Trucking is heavily involved. You are expected to be a safe and punctual driver, a diesel technician, and a lawyer all while maintaining your office on wheels as you watch your sanity and patience fade away on the white lines. It’s necessary that you keep your CDL in good standings, run your clock legally, know your equipment, and the laws that pertain to you as a CDL holder. The bar was pushed higher when you traded your Class C license in for your Class A, hold it high and be responsible because you’re guilty until proven innocent if there is any negligence found on your behalf.
Practice, Makes Perfect
Backing a truck is going to scare the crap out of you, as it should. You will have to relearn what you thought you knew; because your steering will be opposite of what you've always known it to be. When you steer right, your trailer will go left, and vice versa. Take your time, and practice before you find yourself sweating bullets trying to blindside alley dock with trucks on both sides of you at a busy warehouse. Practice G.O.A.L. and stay consistent with it because the back of that trailer is known to cause trouble as soon as you look away. Empty parking lots, slow docks, or truck stops will be good places to learn. Take advantage of it when you’re given the chance to practice in a quiet and safe place.
Fellow Trucker Road Rules
Be courteous to your fellow truck drivers and respect the rules in place. That goes for on the road, at truck stops, and at customers. If you are in a governed truck, make sure to keep yourself in the right lane when another truck comes up to pass. Allow another driver the space to get over when you see he’s having a hard time. Watch the on ramps for merging big trucks and be ready to merge. When at the truck stops, fuel in a timely manner and pull up in the designated spots when you’re done. You see another driver struggling to back their truck or slide their tandems? Then get out to help or spot that driver, because we all started as rookies and no one likes a know-it-all.
Truckers already have a bad name tied to them; overalls, overweight, and overly stinky. Practice good hygiene, dress appropriately, and take care of yourself. Some customers are famous for having little to no driver facilities, but if you don’t take care of yourself - you shouldn’t expect anyone else to take care of you. Don’t urinate on gravel and pick up your trash. The point? Don’t come out here to further the negative stigma around truck drivers. Take pride in yourself and your work, because you’re a badass truck driver.
Learn Your Equipment
Ask questions about your equipment whenever you’re given the chance - trainers, diesel mechanics, and fellow drivers. Take whatever you feedback you recieve with a grain of salt. We recommend asking multiple opinions and levels of expertise to ensure accuracy because you can never be too sure. It’s important you know your equipment and be proactive to run legal and keep yourself and others around you on the road safe. You’re never too old or too experienced to learn something new.
Follow the Money
A common complaint in the industry is incorrect driver pay, and I’m sure if you’ve looked up your company review site than this isn’t you’re first time reading this. When you start out as a company driver, you will be assigned a dispatcher, and don’t rely on your dispatcher to fix your paycheck along with every other problem you come across. It’s highly recommended that you learn who to talk to about your paycheck because if you’re not getting paid, then what are you doing out here?
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